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Unity Flag Project

3 months ago

The Unity Flag Project is a nationwide traveling exhibit inspiring empathy and bipartisanship. This virtual exhibition is being hosted by the Robert Nusbaum Center and Neil Britton Art Gallery at Virginia Wesleyan University as an expression of national unity. This exhibit will opens on Inauguration Day, January 20, and will remain on view indefinitely. The Unity Flag Project was initiated in anticipation of the final presidential debate on October 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville. The idea was launched by Dr. Meaghan Brady Nelson, Assistant Professor of Art Education and Program Director of Fine Arts at Belmont, who took the blue and red polarization of our current political climate and used the visual arts to bring them together to foster “purple empathy.” The project was designed to encourage civil discourse, build empathy, and bridge political divides through the visual arts by inviting artists from across the country to create representations of the U.S. flag that expressed empathy for bipartisanship. “’Purple empathy’ is the action," states Nelson, "of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another’s political views, political experiences, political opinions, political understandings, political intentions, and political decisions." “We believe that civil discourse in the arts has the power to provide a focal point for dialogue, to reduce barriers to participation and spark individuals into action, to promote new ways of thinking about and understanding issues, and to ultimately catalyze needed change,” states John Rudel, Curator of Exhibitions for the Neil Britton Art Gallery. “Following a period of tremendous social unrest in our country, we are hopeful that promoting unity through this exhibition and related events will harness the power of creative expression as a means for positive growth.” Individuals or groups are invited to submit digital images of their own Unity Flag designs to be included in the virtual exhibition. Interested parties should email .jpg or .pdf files to jrudel@vwu.edu by March 14. “Unity Flag Design” should be included in the email subject line.